With Spring officially underway you may be seeking more rituals and tools to be in better alignment with Mother Earth. One of the most powerful ways I’ve found to tune myself to the natural rhythms of Gaia is through the wheel of the year or the eight Sabbats.
You’ve probably heard some of the festivals from the wheel of the year mentioned, like Samhain (pronounced SOW-WEN), Beltane, and Yule. If you’ve been curious to learn more about the origins of these festivals the wheel of the year is where you’ll want to start.
Learning more about the wheel of the year will not only help you feel more in-tune with nature, it will give you rituals to use year-round to connect with yourself and Mother Earth. This topic can seem a little overwhelming when getting started so I created a free printable worksheet for you to help lock in all of these useful tidbits of information. Keep scrolling for a link to your free copy.
What is the wheel of the year?
The wheel of the year is comprised of eight Sabbats or festivals that occur on or around the same day each year. The eight Sabbats are comprised of four solar events, i.e. the Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, and Fall Equinox. The remaining four festivals are based on seasonal changes and farming. Here’s a rundown of the eight Sabbats, what they align with, and their dates:
Yule: December 21st – January 1st // Winter Solstice
Imbolc: February 1st // Holiday is known as Candlemas which signifies the first signs of Spring
Ostara: March 20th // Spring Equinox (first day of Spring)
Beltane: April 30th – May 1st // A fire ceremony that signifies the midpoint between Spring and Summer
Litha: June 21st or 22nd // Summer Solstice
Lughnasadh: July 31st – August 1st // Marks the first harvest of the year
Mabon: September 21st – September 23rd // Fall Equinox
Samhain: October 31st – November 1st // Marks the New Year on the wheel of the year. Considered by many to be the most important of all of the Sabbats.
Who uses the wheel of the year?
You don’t have to subscribe to a specific religion or label to use or observe the wheel of the year. Most notably Wiccans, Pagans, Neo-Pagans, and practicing witches reference the wheel of the year for festivals and rituals. If you don’t identify with any of these labels, but like to dabble in ritual or spellwork, that’s perfectly fine! You’ll still be able to find many uses for this powerful tool.
Where did the wheel of the year come from?
The wheel of the year is rooted in several cultures and combines festivals from Romans, ancient Greeks, Germanic cultures of northern Europe, and the Celts. This is one reason why you’ll see a variety of names for some of the festival and differing dates. For example, Lughnasadh also goes by Lammas or Lughnasa and Litha also goes by Midsummer.
The full wheel of eight festivals is a relatively new creation that came about in the 1950’s. The groups listed above each celebrated some of the eight Sabbats, but the evidence is lacking that any of them celebrated all eight. Combining all eight into a wheel was a way to honor and streamline all of the celebrations that many Pagans and Wiccans hold dear.
How to use the wheel of the year?
Learning ways to implement the wheel of the year can certainly be overwhelming! There’s a lot of information out there on it. Like everything I share, I want to make it easy for you to incorporate new tools into your personal practice, so I created a printable of the wheel of the year, simple ways to celebrate for each festival, and journal prompts for each Sabbat. Click here to get your free copy.
How to celebrate
Here’s a rundown of some of the ways you can enjoy the wheel of the year:
- Attend a local celebration or create your own for some or all festivals.
- Conduct a ritual for each Sabbat or the ones that speak to you the most.
- Add decor and scents to your house based on the wheel of the year. (Fellow desert dwellers, this is a personal favorite of mine! Living in the desert it’s easy to forget the seasons so I love to honor them in my home through the wheel of the year.)
- Cook specific foods for each of the Sabbats.
- Enjoy crafts with your Goddess circle or kiddos based around the Sabbats.
- Go within and try journaling for each Sabbat.
Want to dig deeper into using the wheel of the year in your practice? I’ve shared a few other blog posts about some of the eight Sabbats. Click the following links to learn more:
Here are a couple of books I recommend: The Great Work by Tiffany Lizac and The Modern Witchcraft Guide to the Wheel of the Year by Judy Ann Nock.
I hope you find the wheel of the year as special and magical as I do! It has so many positive and powerful applications to bring life to your own sacred practices.
Cassie Uhl is the founder and owner of Zenned Out, a jewelry company that handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie grew up with a open minded, astrology obsessed grandmother and a father that would take her and her sister star gazing in the wee hours of the night. These experiences shaped Cassie and Zenned Out into what they are today by bringing spirituality and astrology into the forefront. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on the Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls purpose.